My favorite part of living in Quito is how easy it is to get out and have adventures. Pululahua, an extinct volcano crater is its own magical world – but one you can get to in only 45 minutes on a the public bus for less than a $1!
The mistiness just added to the beauty
Pululahua is a perfect Quito escape for either a day or an overnight. Its green and lovely and not terribly cold – it’s its own microclimate down there, lush most the year and warmer than Quito. Its quiet, just a few tiny farms and lots of scenery.
From the Mariscal Fosch area, its about 45 minutes – an hour bus to the mitad del mundo (Equator line). Take any bus heading that way. From there, you can either walk (a decent 20-30 min uphill walk) to the Pululahua ‘mirador’ (lookout point) or catch a taxi truck hanging around for a couple dollars. At there top of the mirador there is a little cafe, bathrooms and then the trail down. The trail is very clear, more like a wide walking path and you just zig-zag back and forth until you get to the bottom, which takes about 30 minutes, depending on your pace. Going back up can be tough, especially if youre not used to the altitude, give yourself about an hour and a bit to do the walk (although be prepared to have some of the little old people who live down at the bottom of the crater and do the walk regularly pass you like its nothing – and while carrying huge loads on their backs!)
You can also drive in, the entrance is about 5-10 minutes past the turnoff to the mirador, there is a big sign indicating where to turn off. Normal cars can make it fine, but it is a bumpy dirt road the whole way.
At the bottom there are a variety of little hikes you can take or also a great place for biking.
There are two options for staying overnight:
- Pululahua Hostel: They have rooms and cabins available. The lodging pricing is ok, but the restaurant is a bit overpriced for what it is. There are no kitchen facilities available for use (or other restaurants around), so you are forced to eat there.
- Free camping at the Ministerio de Ambiente (Dept. of the Environment) camping site. Its located right next to the Pululahua hostal, about 30 yards past their entrance. Bathrooms and firepits and charcoal grills available, but bring your own firewood etc (they dont allow you to collect it from the area). On the weekend, there will often be one or two other groups, so be prepared to share the space a bit. No reservations needed. If you need camping equipment, you can rent it from the Pululahua Hostel.
Just an fyi- there are no stores at the bottom of the crater, so bring whatever you will need. While there is running water at the campsite, there is nothing about it being portable, so keep that in mind. Worse case, you can buy it from the Hostel, a bit overpriced.